Defining Bad News
Bad news is “any news that adversely and seriously affects an individual’s view of his or her future” (Buckman 1984).
It is important to define the central element of bad news-that is, to try to identify what makes it so bad for the patient. In most cases this is fairly obvious e.g. diagnosis of a serious life limiting illness and consequently dealing with a limited life span and/or loss of function and/or quality of life.
The impact of bad news is proportional to its effect in changing the patient’s expectations.